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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Scam-hit UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ethics advisor resigns

LONDON ( Associated Press) – Britain’s scandal-hit Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ethics adviser has stepped down and accused the Conservative government of planning to flout conduct rules, weeks after a separate investigation by Britain’s leader into the government Criticized for overseeing a culture of rule-breaking.

Christopher Geidt stepped down as independent adviser on the interests of ministers late Wednesday, a decision the government said came as a surprise.

In a resignation letter published by the government on Thursday, Geidt said he had been put in an “impossible and abhorrent position” after the prime minister had asked him to advise on measures that would amount to “deliberate and purposeful breaches of the Ministerial Code.” Will take the risk.” that governs government conduct.

He did not elaborate but said: “I can have no part in this.”

In a response, Johnson pointed to the issue of related tariffs imposed to protect a “critical industry” that “could be seen to conflict with our obligations” under the WTO.

The government declined to confirm reports that the industry was manufacturing steel, citing “commercial sensitivity”. Britain has banned the import of Chinese steel to protect its domestic industry.

Johnson’s government last year put in place most of the “steel safeguard” measures, rejecting advice from its trade advisory body to remove some of them. Ministers are currently considering whether to increase them again or not.

Johnson’s spokesman said “no decision has been made” on what to do about the tariffs.

Read more: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson fined for breaking COVID lockdown rules

Geidt remained at his job as Johnson was struck by his judgment and ethics charges, culminating in the “Partygate” scandal over parties in government buildings during Britain’s coronavirus lockdown.

Johnson was one of 83 people fined by police for attending the parties, and a civil servant’s report said the prime minister and senior officials should take responsibility for the “failures of leadership and judgement” that led to the government. Created a culture of breaking the rules.

When he was questioned by lawmakers this week, Geidt admitted he felt “disappointed” at his job, noting that he was appointed by the prime minister and therefore was not “truly independent”.

The resignation of his chosen ethics advisor is the latest blow to Johnson. He survived a no-confidence vote by his own Conservative Party last week, but was weakened after 41 percent of Conservative lawmakers voted to remove him.

Johnson still faces a parliamentary ethics investigation that could conclude that he deliberately misled parliament on “partygate” – a crime traditionally committed by resignation.

No replacement has been named for Geidt. Johnson’s spokesman Max Blaine said the prime minister was reviewing how “best to play” the role of ethics.

Geidt’s predecessor as ethics adviser, Alex Allen, also stepped down in November 2020, after the prime minister ignored his finding that a cabinet member, Home Secretary Priti Patel, had bullied his staff and broke the ministerial code of conduct. – Usually also an offense to resign.

“It can be considered a misfortune for the Prime Minister to lose an advisor on the interests of ministers. Conservative MP William Rag, a critic of Johnson, said “losing two looks like recklessness.”

Geidt, a former private secretary to Queen Elizabeth II, was accused of being easy going with top officials in her investigation. Last year, he approved Johnson breaking the ministerial code after the leader failed to disclose that a Conservative Party donor had funded a pricey renovation of the prime minister’s official residence.

In April, he cleared Treasury chief Rishi Sunak for wrongdoing in his wife’s tax matters and holding a US permanent resident card.

World Nation News Desk
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